About Angelica: This native wetland plant grows in swampy areas and woodlands, usually near a river or stream. Angelica has a long history of use as a culinary and medicinal herb, since all parts of the plant are edible. When preserved in sugar, the stems make a traditional confection or garnish; both the stems and the seeds are used for making flavoring liqueurs. Many people consider Angelica a vegetable, and eat the celery-like stems raw. In the 15th century Angelica was valued for its medicinal benefits, lauded by many herbalists as a remedy for all ills. Its name comes from the time of the Great Plague in 1665, in a legend that a monk received a cure for the plague from an angel; the cure contained this herb boiled together with molasses and nutmeg, but records do not say whether the mixture had its intended effect. Angelica continues to be associated with protection from evil and disease.
Angelica Germination: To break its dormancy this seed needs a period of cold moisture, a period of warm moisture, followed by another period of cold moisture. Mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 60 days, then move it to a 70-75 degrees F location for 30-60 days, followed by another 30-60 day period in the refrigerator before planting. To accomplish this naturally, simply plant the seed in late fall and wait until the second spring after planting for germination.To start the treated seed indoors, plant in trays just under the surface of the soil, since they need light to germinate. The germination rate of angelica is naturally low, and the seeds will be slow to sprout. The seedlings should be transplanted 24" apart while they are small, since larger plants do not tolerate transplanting well. Angelica grows best in full sun or dappled shade and moist soil, preferably near water.
Growing Angelica Seeds: This plant reaches its full size in its second year of growth, and often doesn't bloom until its third year. Though the foliage dies back in winter, it survives cold weather well. If grown for its roots, the quality and size will be improved by pruning off the flower heads; this also lengthens the life of the plant, since it dies after producing seed. This plant reproduces itself by side shoots, but does not spread aggressively. Angelica attracts butterflies, especially the short-tailed swallowtail.
Harvesting Angelica: All parts of angelica plant are edible, and can be used for culinary or medicinal purposes.The roots are at their best in the autumn of the first year, while the stems and leaves are at their best in the spring of the second year. The seeds can be used when they have ripened. When harvesting angelica in the wild, keep in mind that it strongly resembles water hemlock, a very deadly poisonous plant.
Saving Angelica Seeds: The seeds will turn from green to yellow when mature; remove the seed heads and spread them out to dry away from direct sunlight. Rub them lightly to separate the seed from the stems. Plant the seed as soon as possible, or store it in the refrigerator for up to a year.
Detailed Angelica Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Purplestem Angelica, Darkpurple Alexanders, Wild Masterwort Duration: Biennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 72-96 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Wet USDA Zone: 4a-7b Seeds Per Oz: 5,800 Produces thick maroon stalks with oval, serrated compound leaves and 4-6" loose clusters of tiny green flowers.